Conversations near a Conference

By: Carl Ford


IoT World is going on this week in Santa Clara. We started the week with meetings in San Jose and Santa Clara and have 20+ meetings and speaking on two topics. It’s a very good show. Kudos to Gavin Whitechurch and his team.

My first two days have been spent in the Santa Clara Hyatt adjacent to the convention center in meetings with clients and other industry heavyweights.

Two conversations in particular struck me as worthy of writing about. One for its insight and depth of collaborative discussion. The other for its content regarding poor messaging.

Let me set the stage first. Almost everyone who is here believes we have not even begun to tap the market opportunity of IoT. Whether you want to dive into a vertical or look at the entire spectrum of solutions, the market is rich with problems needing a solution. Many companies have unmet requirements, broken business models, unmet needs, and missed opportunities. The organizations we speak with have untapped market opportunities.

This is where the insight came in with a discussion from a friend at a Tier 1 MNO. He was sharing his experience with business leaders that often have a problem that IoT can solve, but don’t have a full perspective or responsibility. He says often he comes across problems that people want addressed but are not in charge of. For example, a company has a problem with theft and wants to track their goods. An IoT track and trace solution would fit nicely into this mix. This problem of the theft is drawn to the attention of security. It starts as a physical security discussion, but they don’t have access to all the shipment data and they would have to deploy people since they have limited IT resources or skills. Security brings this to the attention of IT. IT listens but candidly does not monitor the shipments—only the transactions—so they don’t look for a solution.

Now comes the insight. If you are stuck in these circular discussions, the problem is not an IoT problem yet. The people you are talking to don’t have a span of control that matches to an IoT solution. This means you either have to go up a level or find the right organization that cares about these issues.

And here is the inverse of this discussion: Meeting with a platform company that is looking to differentiate themselves from the plethora of platforms out in the market. This company has focused on supporting hardware companies with almost-out-of-the-box, ready-made reference solutions. In reality, many (if not most) of the platforms available have these libraries today. Additionally, many have offered MVNO services.

The hardware companies may need to see a reference design, but the Pareto Principal (aka the “80/20 Rule”) would indicate that a reference design—while being 80% of the code—only takes you to 20% of the value.

The additional 20% of development needs to meet the requirements of the business case. These requirements include, but are not limited to, the integration to specific environmental issues and the management dashboard and training. These additional requirements extend far beyond a lump of code.

This is a job for a systems integrator.

And here the insight from our Tier 1 friend shows comes up again.

Everywhere I turn, I hear about digital transformation and digital twins. You would think that systems integrators would be the ones pushing the conversation and value of IoT. Yet connecting the dots and showing the benefits of IoT has not been understood, on their end.

It’s clear we are a fledgling business. It’s also clear that we need to improve our messaging to climb the hockey stick.

Mind the Gap with Carnegie Technologies

By: Carl Ford


“Heterogeneous” is the word for the process of melding communications systems using wireline, Wi-Fi, and cellular technologies. I asked to interview Carnegie Technologies when they acquired SmartSwitch, as the company is one of the leaders in the heterogeneous networking space. I spoke with John Goocher, Managing Director, Matt Hovis, Chief Marketing Officer, and Ben Toner, Director of Mobility Product Management, about the acquisition and history of Carnegie Technologies.

Paul Posner, who has been a pioneer of wireless services, founded Carnegie Technologies after realizing that the vendor community had portfolio gaps in areas necessary for seamless communications. The goal was to manage disparate networks like Wi-Fi and cellular services. Along the way the feature set expanded and began to include features such as replication of packets, link aggregation (what I used to call “bonding”), dual “keep a lives,” and traffic analytics. Combined, this became Carnegie’s Network Convergence Platform (NCP) solution which aims to optimize the user experience through making and aggregating the best network connections available.

The acquisition of Smartswitch enhances the ability to provide “a consistent user experience across all devices while in the home, at work, on the move and while out and about. The innovation required to deliver such a tailored experience, in all real-world Wi-Fi conditions, has repeatedly demonstrated the value service providers can extract from their Wi-Fi assets today.”

Carnegie has developed a link aggregation capability which it says is designed to provide a smooth integration of Wi-Fi into cellular services. Although it has similarities to the much talked about Multipath TCP (MPTCP), it provides extra capabilities for supporting UDP data streams from voice apps and for delivering gapless handover. It also removes some of the technical issues faced by MPTCP, such as Head of the Line Blocking. “The combined capability of SmartSwitch and the patented link aggregation capabilities of the NCP goes directly for the maximum user experience, offering premium aggregation of data links while ensuring the best Wi-Fi has been selected in order to maximize the potential for Wi-Fi usage, which in turn eliminates congestion and cost on the cellular networks.”

Paul Posner, CEO of Carnegie Technologies, commented “many smart devices on the market today have the capability to access more than one network at a time, and we’re committed to ensuring that the users of these devices can benefit from all networks with the optimal user experience.”

Their NCP solution boasts a number of features that are pragmatic and ready for today’s network environment. For example, a Wi-Fi analytics capability continuously measures QoS and provides insights to the service providers when their customers are both on and off their network. In addition, NCP offers policy management and the ability to adapt the network selection to be just right for the customer (e.g. unlimited plan customers may use 4G if Wi-Fi is slow, whereas pre-pay customers may use more Wi-Fi regardless of quality in order to keep costs down). Their solution supports SIM authentication and HotSpot 2.0, so it is ready for all of the future Wi-Fi infrastructure.

Another aspect of the NCP with SmartSwitch is the ability to interface with the mobile core via 3GPP Access Network Discovery Selection Function (ANDSF), which in turn means their connection and aggregation policies are tuned to the Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF) rules and subscriber tiers. For MVNOs who do not have a mobile core, they support automatic authentication of portals using EAP methods as well as WISPr.

Carnegie Technologies is also a player in IoT where it’s also expected to offer huge benefits owing to devices’ need for continuous and reliable connections to work to their fullest potential. Regardless of a carrier’s primary strategy, I think solutions such as Carnegie Technologies’ offering are going to become more essential.

Would You Like to Speak at Sensors Expo?

By: James Brehm

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We’re Headed to Sensors Expo, and Here’s Why!

In 2009, I was quoted in a press release stating “we're entering a new era where every device that can be connected will be connected to the Internet and other devices.” It was a very different time then. The buzz word ”IoT” didn’t exist. There were more M2M MVNOs than platform companies. And every company wasn’t yet looking to change its business model through digitalization.

But as the market edged ever forward, and the world of connected devices matured, first movers created vertical solutions to address very specific issues. And in developing tools to improve their capabilities to accelerate the launch of a wide range of connected-devices and services, these vertical solution providers pivoted and expanded the horizontal capabilities of their applications and renamed them “platforms”. Somehow, with no proof, everyone in the software game seemed to be reading from the same script, thinking that a platform would provide a quicker time to market, enhanced customer experience, growth in subscriber and revenue levels, and an increased average revenue per user (ARPU).

But as we learned at last year’s iteration of Sensors Expo, most of the Sensor companies don’t speak IoT and IoT gateway companies and connectivity providers don’t speak Sensor.

But all of the companies, regardless of type, inappropriately interchange buzzwords like platforms, analytics, Big Data, sensors, and blockchain in their marketing messages, while not realizing they are just pieces of the puzzle.

A week or two ago, I was speaking with a vendor and the topic of buzzwords – which buzzword would be next. And what we came up with is the fact that while the end game is contextualized information, the starting point is the sensor-application. Cheap, plentiful sensors are being widely integrated in the planet’s mobile and fixed infrastructures, each new sensor tied to an application which in time will generate a torrent of time-series data that will overwhelm all prior data volumes. 

And this is where things like analytics, Big Data, and blockchain reside. It’s where platforms will help drive scale and where scale will drive economics.

Connectivity is like plumbing. And while we've begun to realize that connecting these devices is an incredibly complex process, we’ve pretty much figured out connectivity. But what the world hasn’t figured out yet, is while connecting a device is necessary, it’s connecting sensors and having sensor driven applications that is mandatory to drive value.

So we’re headed to Sensors Expo to lead 2 days of panels and presentations, bringing both sides of the equation (the sensor and the IoT) together.

Would you like to join the discussion? Do you have something interesting to say? Would you like to be put on the agenda?

Please email us back. Let’s hold a discussion and see where you might fit.



MODEX 2018 will be held on April 9-12 this year at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. With more than 800 exhibitors from industry, commerce, and government attending to display their supply chain solutions and innovation, this year’s show will provide attendees access to the latest manufacturing and supply chain equipment and technologies. James Brehm, founder and CEO of James Brehm & Associates, will be moderating the panel discussion “Industry 4.0 & IoT.”

"Industry 4.0” is the name that has been given to the revolution that the manufacturing industry is currently experiencing. Together, Industry 4.0 and IoT are enabling leaner, more efficient manufacturing. More importantly, however, they are enabling the creation of novel products and processes that are in turn disrupting a variety of different industries.

Both Industry 4.0 and IoT are unprecedented yet possible today because the different technologies they draw from (e.g. automation, cloud computing, etc.) have finally hit the sweet spot where they are sophisticated enough and affordable enough to yield viable, pragmatic solutions. And both are whipping up a storm of ethical and organizational questions.

Think about it. 

Since the technologies involved in Industry 4.0 and IoT will only become more sophisticated and relevant with time, and since data’s role and value as a commodity will only appreciate with time, manufacturers and supply chain operators are now faced with the challenge of figuring out the best approach to taking advantage of these new technologies:

  • Should the new technologies and processes introduced by Industry 4.0 and IoT be used to wholly replace legacy systems or should updates be done piecemeal? What pains would each approach bring, and how should businesses choose?
  • Who (and to what extent) gets to own access the data from connected products sold to other businesses?
  • How are Industry 4.0 and IoT affecting business models? What’s more important—the connected thing or the connected business model?

These questions and many others will be explored at the panel discussion “Industry 4.0 and IoT” by the highly-qualified panelists John Ashodian (Marketing Manager at SICK), Vijay Chhabria (R&D Manager at JBT), and Doug Schuchart (Market Manager of Material Handling & Logistics at Beckhoff Automation), whose vision and ingenuity have distinguished them in each of their respective companies.

The discussion will be held on April 10, 2018 from 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm at the Smart City Logistics and Connected Supply Chain Theater 1.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with James Brehm & Associates or receive more information about the panel discussion “Industry 4.0 and IoT” please contact us at

Extra! Extra! Read Our Q4 Report!


In our latest issue of A Deeper Connected Conversation we provide an in-depth analysis of Q4 results and a review of market activity (e.g., new network deployments, partnerships &/or alliances, new product &/or service announcements). 

It is our goal to equip readers with the knowledge and insight they need to make wise decisions regarding your IoT and IoT-related ventures and projects. That drives us to uncover and report the most accurate and telling financials, key performance indicators (KPIs), and news. 

To view this report, simply click HERE

For more information, please contact us at

Hot Off the Press! Why Autonomous Vehicles Are An Eventual Certainty But Auto Dealers Still Don't Know How To Sell Connected Car Solutions Sales


This latest Connected Conversation, focuses on two aspects of the auto industry (autonomous vehicles and auto sales) to provide insight on the following issues: 

  • The Business & Legal Factors Holding Driverless Cars Back--Technological immaturity isn't the only factor slowing the en masse entry of driverless cars on our roadways. Engineers can (and soon absolutely will) advance the technology for driverless cars into maturity. But that's only half of the equation. Complexities rooted in insurance, regulatory, and cultural issues are just a few of the challenges that need to be addressed.
  • Which Driving Segments Will Driverless Cars Lure the Most--Driverless cars aren't going to suddenly monopolize our roads. The most realistic scenario will be that driverless vehicles begin replacing long-haul vehicles used for transporting goods. (Not consumer "Average-Joe" drivers.)  Simple supply/demand economics, well, demand it. 
    • Auto Dealers Are Myopically Sabotaging Sales of Connected Car Solutions--We have enormous respect for the men and women who daily work very hard at auto dealerships; our opinion of the business model currently in place at your average auto dealership is another matter. The brass tacks is that sales numbers for connected car solutions continue to be problematic because sales people aren't being properly incentivized to promote them.

    To view this issue of A Connected Conversation, simply click here.

    For more information, please contact us at

    Read About the ATM EFFECT


    Titled "The ATM Effect," this latest Connected Conversation, focuses exclusively on ATMs to provide: 

    • Analysis of the Global ATM Market--How robust is the global market? Which regions display the most growth and why? What are the revenue opportunities?
    • Analysis of the US ATM Market--What are customer trends and how do they affect ATM usage? How are ATMs evolving and how does that affect traditional banking models? What's the growth forecast?
    • Explanation of EMV Fraud Liability Shift--What is EMV, and do we really need it? Just how high are credit card fraud losses in the US? How will a fraud liability shift affect those losses? How will it affect small businesses? 

    It is our goal at James Brehm & Associates to equip you, the readers, with the knowledge and insight you need to make profitable decisions regarding your IoT and IoT-related ventures and projects. This goals drives us to create the most effective market analysis out there. 

    To view this issue of A Connected Conversation, simply click here

    Whether it be content range or depth (or something else entirely), if you have any feedback on how we could better serve your needs or if you would like to subscribe, please don't hesitate to let us know by dropping us a line at

    Net Neutrality & IoT


    By: James Brehm

    We've received countless emails and phone calls the past couple of days asking for our opinion on Net Neutrality and Chairman Pai's reversal of previous policy.

    Well, just wait, I've got a special edition of our newsletter devoted to Net Neutrality coming. And if you want a preview--all you whining and sniveling SISSIES who are complaining about the reversal order--remember this: without the Network, there is no Net Neutrality discussion.

    Q3 Results Are In!


    In our latest issue of A Deeper Connected Conversation we provide an in-depth analysis of Q3 results and a review of market activity (e.g., new network deployments, partnerships &/or alliances, new product &/or service announcements). 

    It is our goal to equip readers with the knowledge and insight they need to make wise decisions regarding your IoT and IoT-related ventures and projects. That drives us to uncover and report the most accurate and telling financials, key performance indicators (KPIs), and news. 

    To view this report, simply click HERE

    For more information, please contact us at

    IoT Should Be Used to Tackle the National Opioid Crisis

    By: Consuelo Azuaje


    On October 26, 2017 President Trump declared the current opioid crisis (which takes an estimated 91 lives in the US daily) a national health emergency. Under the Public Health Service Act, this declaration will direct federal agencies to contribute more grant money to combatting the epidemic and will give states greater flexibility to use federal funds.

    The Scope of the Issue

    According to recent studies, more than 30% of Americans have some form of acute or chronic pain, and among the older adults, the prevalence of chronic pain is greater than 40%. More than 37% of of the 44 thousand drug-overdose deaths reported in 2013 were attributable to pharmaceutical opioids; heroin accounted for an additional 19%. Opioid addiction affected ~2.5 million adults in 2014. The widespread misunderstanding and misuse of these drugs has largely contributed to this national epidemic.

    In response to the crisis, doctors have become increasingly hesitant over the years to prescribe opioids, and although limiting access to habit-forming opioids may help stem future incidences of addiction development, it also limits pain management options for those that struggle with acute and/or chronic pain. Alternatives to opioids for pain management must be more fully promoted and vigorously promoted.

    Drug-Free Alternatives for Pain Management

    Neuromodulation is an exciting drug-free alternative for pain management. In fact, some experts expect the global neuromodulation devices market to reach $7.1 billion by 2018—up 270% from 2011. According to the American Pain Society, the annual cost of chronic pain totals $635 billion in the US. That’s greater than the combined costs of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

    Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy uses a form of neuromodulation technology. NeuroMetrix, a commercial-stage, bioelectrical and digital medicine company, recently developed and released the TENS-based pain management offering, Quell. Quell is five times more powerful than other OTC TENS kit and provides users customizable, automated pain management therapy. 

    An IoT-Compatible Task

    Although Quell is also highly effective at reducing pain, what makes it exciting and relevant to IoT companies is how it extends far beyond pain reduction to place greater control into users’ hands, and use IoT and big data analytics to bolster pain management and research. By supporting research, Quell contributes to improving to more than just users’ care and quality of life but to improving the industry itself.

    Quell offers users a smartphone app for tracking health metrics such as pain, sleep, activity and gait, and device utilization. This app connects to Quell Health Cloud, NeuroMetrix's integrated cloud platform. Being able to view, form, and consume analyses of their own trends empowers users to identify what their personal pain triggers are, maintain awareness of their own activity levels, and better inform medical professionals of how they are doing.

    Quell Health Cloud is its IoT and big data component. The cloud database stores users’ demographic and clinical profile and health metrics. With greater than 35 thousand registered users and over 2.5 million hours of anonymized patient data (e.g. demographic and clinical profiles, health profiles), Quell Health Cloud is quickly becoming one of the largest chronic pain databases in the world. While providing customers with real-time guidance to help them make the most of their therapy, it also helps researchers generate insight into better understanding chronic pain at a population level and developing more effective pain management strategies.

    Final Thoughts

    Tackling substance abuse will require a multi-pronged approach that and we stand at the precipice of a vast field of unique opportunity. Never before has our understanding of addiction’s neurobiology and root causes been more robust—nor our technological ability to address it effectively and affordably. Improper use of opioids has crept insidiously into every corner of the country, and left pain and destruction in its wake. Treatment is important, but prevention is gold. A drug-free option capable of effectively treating acute and/or chronic pain would do wonders for substance abuse prevention, and data-driven approaches to healthcare will be the cutting edge that breaks new ground for research opportunities.

    This is an important opportunity for IoT companies to address and create recurring revenue in a largely untapped and compatible market, all the while producing an enormous amount of social good.